What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers Compensation is the system that provides wage replacement, medical and rehabilitation benefits to workers who are injured on the job.

It is essentially a no-fault system that requires an employer to compensate a worker for any injury suffered in the course of the worker’s employment, regardless of who was at fault. Under the state’s Workers’ Disability Compensation Act, however, the amount that a worker can recover is limited. In most cases, a worker who is injured receives medical treatment, and the employer or its insurance carrier voluntarily pays workers’ compensation benefits. In time, the worker is “rehabilitated” by returning to his or her former job or to another one with the same employer. Injured workers are entitled to only: (1) certain benefits to make up for the loss of wages suffered by the injured worker (limited by annually adjusted caps); (2) the cost of medical treatment (subject to cost containment rules); and (3) vocational rehabilitation services (limited to 104 weeks). Vocational rehabilitation can include changing the worker’s job station or working with the employer and worker to aid in the person’s return to work at the same or similar job or working with an agency to help the worker find a job with another employer.

What Kind of Injuries or Diseases are Covered?

Almost all types of work-related physical injury and industrial illness are covered by workers’ compensation. Very commonly covered conditions include repetitive-stress injuries (RSIs) like carpal-tunnel syndrome (CTS), back injuries, traumatic injuries, wounds or bodily reactions to substances. Many states also cover mental or emotional harm, but the standards for psychological coverage vary greatly from state to state. Pre-existing conditions are generally not covered unless aggravated at work.

What Happens When a Worker is Injured on the Job?

A worker should notify the employer of a work-related injury or illness as soon as he/she is aware of the injury or illness. The employer may direct the injured worker to a treating physician or medical facility of the employer’s choice for the first 28 days of care following the injury or illness. After the first 28 days of medical care, injured workers may choose their own treating physician, but they must notify the employer with the name of the chosen health care provider.

How are Workers’ Compensation Benefits Paid?

A worker must have a wage loss of at least one week in order to receive any workers’ compensation wage loss benefits. The payments are made to the injured worker by the self-insured employer or the insurance carrier. Payments for medical treatment are ordinarily made directly by the employer or its insurance company to the medical service provider.

How Much is Paid in Workers’ Compensation?

Generally, workers receive 80% of the after-tax value of their wage loss. A determination is made about the worker’s “average weekly wage” before the injury. The worker would then be entitled to 80% of the after-tax value of that average weekly wage. The average weekly wage is based on the highest 39 weeks of wages during the 52 weeks immediately prior to the injury. Under certain circumstances, the value of fringe benefits may be included in determining the average weekly wage. The maximum weekly wage benefit rate is 90% of the state average weekly wage for the year prior to the injury. Wage loss and medical benefits can be lifetime benefits, depending upon the severity of the injury and loss of wages.

There are legal deadlines, or “statutes of limitation” that prescribe the amount of time you have to file a claim in a workers’ compensation case. It is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.

The attorneys at Sucher Legal are experts in Michigan Workers’ Compensation law. We will help you get the compensation you deserve. At Sucher Legal, we have been representing injured individuals in Michigan Workers’ Compensation claims for over 30 years. When you get paid, we get paid. If we don’t collect, you pay no fee. Let us help you today.

Have Questions?

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